NOAA Forecasts ‘Near-Normal’ 2023 Hurricane Season
The agency predicts the United States will see at least five hurricanes this year.
As June kicks off 2023’s Atlantic hurricane season, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is forecasting a “near-normal” number of hurricanes and tropical storms for the United States this year.
NOAA’s recently released outlook for the 2023 Atlantic hurricane season, which extends from June 1 to November 30, predicts a 40% chance of a near-normal season, a 30% chance of an above-normal season, and a 30% chance of a below-normal season.
NOAA is forecasting a range of 12 to 17 total named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), five to nine of which could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including one to four major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5; with winds of 111 mph or higher). NOAA has announced a 70% confidence in these ranges.
The upcoming Atlantic hurricane season is expected to be less active than recent years, due to competing factors—some that suppress storm development and some that fuel it—driving this year’s overall forecast for a near-normal season.
During the last three hurricane seasons, a La Niña climate pattern was present—stronger than usual trade winds pushed more warm water toward Asia. This summer, NOAA scientists predict a high potential for an El Niño climate pattern to develop—weaker trade winds push warm water toward the west coast of the Americas, which can suppress Atlantic hurricane activity. (Learn more about La Niña and El Niño climate patterns.)
While this hurricane season might not be as extreme as others, NOAA cautions that even one storm event can be devastating. “As we saw with Hurricane Ian, it only takes one hurricane to cause widespread devastation and upend lives,” said Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) administrator Deanne Criswell. “So regardless of the number of storms predicted this season, it is critical that everyone understand their risk and heed the warnings of state and local officials.”
Are you ready for this year’s hurricane season? For more information about hurricane preparedness, see 7 Ways to Prepare Your Facility for a Hurricane.